At first, I thought businesses only worked online by those who have websites and allow people to make transactions and display ads. However, there is more to it than just that. Businesses can make money through the use of Virtual Worlds. In “The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer” article, it was interesting to read how there was this “phenomenon of selling virtual goods for real money called real-money trading, or R.M.T.”(p. 2). This took place in the late 1990’s on eBay, where people were actually selling their “virtual armor, weapons, gold, an other items” (p. 2). Eventually, this bidding auction came to an end because there were “customer-service issues involved in facilitating transactions that are prohibited by the gaming companies” (p. 2). Now, these virtual goods have been “brought to retail not by players selling the product of their own gaming but by high-volume online specialty sites “ (p. 2). This actually reminded me of an article that I read where a man spent $60,000 on the clothes and things he bought for his avatar in Second Life. I remember when I read that I was in total disbelief because I couldn’t understand how an individual would pay so much real money for an avatar.
In the Castronova reading, it was really interesting to see how businesses were making a lot of money from people in the online world. “There are two modes of buying and selling in Norrath, avatar-to-avatar (a2a) and avatar-to-biot (a2b).” (p. 22). This profit would come in because an “avatar can simply walk up to any biot merchant and examine the merchant’s wares and buy/sell prices for any length of time” (p. 22). Also, avatars can have auctions about the products they want. Merchants will always try to give people what they want. Supply and demand. Merchants are trying to get money and receive a lot of profit, so why wouldn’t they support this idea? At first, I used to think it was quite strange for people to spend “real” money on their avatars (as long as it’s not a crazy amount). However, if the individual is trying to doll up their avatars, and aren’t too pleased with the default clothing available, then of course they can purchase it from merchants who carry what they want. Heck, humans don’t really have that option here in the “real” world. These Virtual Worlds industries are making a lot of money without much work/hassle involved. Since VWs are growing quickly in society, businesses understand that people are willing to pay money for just seeing what VWs are all about (p. 32). Companies like IBM took advantage of using virtual worlds. They actually had a conference that people attended to, and this saved IBM over “$250,000 in travel and revenue costs and more than $150,000 in additional productivity gains” (Linden Lab reading). Wow, that is a lot of money the company saved, and they were able to do this by organizing conferences within virtual worlds. Businesses have been able to make and save a lot of money by the use of virtual worlds. If it does the job, I say go for it.